Vinciane Dumont chaired the Organising Committee of the 18th
World Orchid Conference.
She is an active membre of the orchids community in Europe and
abroad and hold many fonctions of responsability such Secretary
General of the European Orchid Council , President of an Orchid
Society in Switzerland for many years, Scientific Authority for
CITES in Switzerland and member of the Orchid Speciliast Group
where she was Deputy Chair and so on.
Mrs Vinciane Dumont, now the18th World Congress of Orchids is finished
and we can realize the success of your company, we would like to know
a little about its history since we can imagine how hard is to handle
an event of such size.
VD: One year and half after France obtained the organization of this
congress, the organizers asked me to help them and I agreed to be in
charge of this event. I soon realized 2 serious problems: an unacceptable
budget and big problems of Paris. If there is a smallest event (strike,
visit of an important politician, bad weather...) this city is intolerable,
one does not move any more. If that arrives during the WOC, there would
not be visitors to the show and it would be the financial rout. I found
this risk too much heavy to carry and I shared it with the trustees
who required of me to take again the direction of the event and to move
the WOC out of Paris if France wanted to keep its mandate.
ON: Thus you were not at the head since the beginning which does not
help too much. How do you arrange to have the two events (Florissimo
and WOC) occurringr to the same time?
VD: As I have already exposed once in Florissimo
and knowing that Philippe Lecoufle did it regularly, we asked Florissimo
if they would like to join the two show, specially as they had good
installations for the congress. Thus all started.
ON: It is the first time that the WOC takes seat in a French-speaking
country. Did that help you to have the participation of French associations,
VD: I had many reproaches on behalf of French
orchidophiles which saw a blow assembled there to seize the power; however
it was more a question of saving the save the honor of France and not
to be dislocated of our role of organizer. It should have been waited
until 2003 when Claudie Roguenant, new member at the Committee, manages
to convince almost each French association to come to join us.
ON: How have you organized the event? You have a team which was not
so big, was it?
VD: Immediatly a team of voluntary installation
started. I had already some serious heads: Micheline Rusterholz, from
Geneva (speakers) and Jean-Jacques Beguin (site) which had already helped
me with the Congress European of 1997; Danou De Cordier (mail) from
Belgium, and Rik Neyrinck (judgement) and of course some French like
Jean-Michel Veillard (edition and promotion) and Philippe Lecoufle (expo).
Soon others joined us like Anne-Marie Gabriel (exhibitors) and Jean-Pierre
Fourlon (customs). Considering the distances between each one, we worked
much by conference calls and of course e-mails. It is clearly that we
can only measure the effectiveness of each one at the moment of the
event happens and I must say that some were remarkable and that very
happened in a perfect agreement and a very cordial environment despite
of the external tension. It is a colossal effort!
ON: Passed all this tension that you all lived and considering the success
of the Congress and the show, which is the balance you can strike?
VD: My surprises compared with the organization
of the Congress European in 1999:
1) the French did not know what is a WOC because they do not take part
or little in international demonstrations, which was not the case of
the Swiss ones. They thus had to learn quickly.
2) people do all at the last minute... I had exhibitors who were registered
during the last month (15%), desistances from 3 lecturers the last month
also and 20% of the inscriptions to the congress. This does not facilitate
the work of the organizers since in addition for any order, edition
etc... it takes time more and more. 70% of the congressists were to
regulate the balance of their invoice to their arrival. All this explains
why the reception more difficult than was envisaged. And of course the
problem of languages did not facilitate the things.
ON: However, the balance is rather positive, isn't it?
VD: However, my impressions remain very positive:
the enthusiasm and the amazement of each one in front of the spectacle
of the show, the kindness of each one, the interest caused by the conferences
until the last day (often that is degraded as of the 2nd day) and the
success of our final official reception which for us was large financial
expenses but which had the anticipated result: the absent ones were
wrong. We had nearly 1000 congressmen: they came from every where, the
least well represented everywhere were the Americans who normally are
the pilliars. It seems that the policy and the dollar did not play in
our favour; the best represented were the Asian ones. On the other hand
never as many country did not take part in a WOC: exhibitors, lecturers
or congressists... it is very important because the WOC is, before any
thing, a whole exchange of culture, information and orchids. It is true
that it was a first in French-speaking country and that nobody felt
ON: And for the visitors?
VD: We had 200.000 visitors to the show and nearly
4.000 with the small exposition of paintures of orchids at the Town
hall of Dijon. Many came to the Gardens from the Arquebus for projections
of orchids in 3 dimensions and the workshops for children. In fact there
were too many things to do and not enough time!
ON: Your work did not finish yet.
VD: We are now in the last phase: some in the
accounts, others in the acts of the congress. They must be ready for
Christmas and they will be splendid and interesting.
ON: Thank you, Mrs Vinciane Dumont.
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